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New Team Wellington coach has Oceania goal

Sep 2nd, 2011 | By | Category: Latest News, News, Sport

WINNING COACH : Matt Calcott, standing second from left, celebrates with Miramar Rangers last month.

NEW Team Wellington coach, Matt Calcott, is looking local to break the Auckland monopoly in this season’s ASB Football Premiership.

Wellington is yet to won the competition, due to start on October 23, despite having made the playoffs in the last four seasons.

Calcott, 37, replaces Stu Jacobs, who has been named head coach of ASB Premiership side Young Heart Manawatu.

The former Miramar Rangers and Western Suburbs coach says there is enough local talent in the region, but the challenge will be convincing players to commit to the franchise.

“I think we have enough footballers in Wellington to be successful.

“Whether or not those players put their names forward is another thing. That has been a problem in the past, the best players have not always been available,” he says.

Part of the difficulty in retaining and recruiting the best players is the attraction and the buying power of the two teams who have dominated the league since it began in 2004, Auckland City and Waitakere United.

Those teams offer players the chance to compete in the Oceania Champions League, which comes with finishing in the top two of the ASB Premiership.

Auckland and Waitakere have both won the Oceania Champions League in recent years and gained qualification to the FIFA World Club Cup.

When a New Zealand teams qualifies for the world event, it is rewarded with 35% plus $US50,000 of $US500,000.

The rest of the money is split between New Zealand Football (15%) and the other seven ASB Premiership sides.

Team Wellington general manager, Shaun Gill, says the Oceania Champions League is something Wellington would like to be part of but admits it will not be easy.

“It’s very hard to break into. Auckland and Waitakere have had a stranglehold over the last few years,” he says.

“It will be a difficult but achievable target for Team Wellington this season.”

Calcott says the potential is there to qualify for the O-League and it would help the club attract players, but he does not expect instant success.

“We want players who will buy into what we want to achieve, with a view to qualify within the next couple of years.”

While attracting and retaining players to Team Wellington has been a problem in the past, this season may be different if Calcott’s history is anything to go by.

After a successful stint as head coach at Western Suburbs, which included two Central League titles plus a Chatham Cup title as assistant coach, he moved to Miramar Rangers and several players followed him.

The players’ loyalty paid off when Miramar won the 2010 Chatham Cup and Calcott was nominated in the Dominion Post coach of the year category, the only amateur among the nominations.

Calcott ended his time with Miramar Rangers by sealing this season’s Central League title with victory over the winners of this year’s Chatham cup, Wairarapa United.


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